I’m taking a break from my usual nostalgia to bring you a rant on an entirely different type of book. Celebrity parenting books.
Parenting is big business, and there is no shortage of books and blogs out there to make any parent (though these are marketed almost exclusively to mothers) feel like they are doing something wrong. From the HuffPo blogger who told us about the ten mistakes she is just sure we’re making as parents ,to the dipshit mom who took most of her kids toys- including the comforters off their beds- away because she doesn’t know how to parent through her kid wanting a dinosaur toy or refusing to clean up a mess, moms are constantly being bombarded with advice (much of it bad), psuedoscience (I’m looking at you, anti-vaxxers), and constant pressure to do everything 100% perfectly. (The toy-less mom is the blogpost that started my hate-rage against mom bloggers. I have so many feelings on this post, but I don’t want to interrupt my stream of thought. So check below by the asterisk* where I’ll go in to my many criticisms of it.)
It’s bad enough when Dr. Sears is trying to shill whatever products on his website under the guise of M.D.-provided parenting advice (seriously. Check out the multitude of products on the sidebar of his website.) But when the chick who has no degree but DOES have a spread in Playboy joins in the fun? Oh, hell to the fucking no.
Jenny McCarthy was known at first for her boobs, then as the talentless half of the Singled Out hosts, and later became known for being the loudest voice in the ‘vaccines cause autism’ debate. Which, is really not a debate because the guy who first wrote about it in a journal admitted to fraudulent science. But even after that memo and thirty-plus additional studies that debunked the vaccine link, Jenny McCarthy continued to proudly tell us to not protect our kids against pertussis. And then this happened. So thank god she’s been given a platform by book publishers, amirite?.
Alicia Silverstone was known at first for being the girl in the Aerosmith videos in the 90’s, and then as Cher on Clueless. Then she was known for nothing for a while. Then she had a baby and wrote a book about it! In her book, this millionaire mother tells us all that we should be attachment parents. Despite the fact that the majority of American mothers HAVE TO GO TO FUCKING WORK and aren’t living off the many dollars earned being in music videos, and in movies, and writing parenting books. In response to her critics, Alicia states “I am confident in my choices. And I trust my intuition when it comes to parenting.” But, she wants you to not trust your instincts too much – because otherwise, you wouldn’t need to buy her book.
And that’s what this all comes down to. There’s a whole industry of parenting books and parenting blogs that try to do nothing but make us question ourselves so they can cash in. The last time I was at Barnes & Noble, it practically broke my heart to see how many shelves were devoted to parenting and child care books. It breaks my heart every time one of my friends posts a link to a mommy-blog instructing us on what we’re doing wrong. Especially when it’s posted by a friend who I know damn well is a great mother!
So,come on moms. Just stop it already. Stop letting the bloggers and the celebrities and the unethical doctors tell you what to do. You have have parenting instincts. I know you do. You can be a good mom all on your own. And if you need advice? There are plenty of places to turn, including your friends and family, and actual trustworthy pediatricians to answer all your questions. Use your instincts to determine what is good advice and what is shitty advice.
Just for funsies, here’s a list of celeb parenting books. (Some of these may be more memoir-ish. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never fucking read one. Obviously.)
- Jenny McCarthy. Three books! Belly Laughs, Baby Laughs, and Louder Than Words
- Alicia Silverstone; Kind Mama
- Mayim Bialik; Beyond the Sling
- Soliel Moon Frye; Happy Chaos
- Tori Spelling; Mommywood
- Alec Baldwin; A Promise to Ourselves
- Michelle Duggar; A Love that Multiplies
- This one book called What they know about Parenting, which is a compendium of celeb-parent knowledge. It includes goodies from Gwyneth Paltrow, Donald Trump (wtf), Adam Sandler, Reese Witherspoon, Denzel Washington, Sarah Jessica Parker and many, many more.
These people do NOT know more about parenting their kids than you do. Trust me.
*OK. The dipshit mom who took her kids toys away. I have so many strong negative feelings about this post.
- The title is obviously click-bait. And when you see the number of comments on the post, she’s clearly made quite a bit of money from the title.
- The defensive tone. If she’s so confident about her choice, why is she so defensive right away? It’s like she knows she has something she needs to be overly-defensive about.
- The comforter thing. Look, take the toys away. Whatever. But a comforter is WHAT KEEPS YOUR KIDS WARM AT NIGHT. Giving your kids a warm bed isn’t spoiling them. It’s kind of a bare minimum of parenting. Then she said that they’ve since “earned” the comforters back. What the fuck oh my god I can’t even.
- She only left toys that are good for their imaginations. Fine, those are great toys! But there are other toys that are worthwhile, but which aren’t imagination building. Puzzles are great for kids, but not necessarily their imaginations. Board games are and awesome way to teach kids about fair play and being a good sport, but again aren’t imagination building. Jump ropes, pogo sticks, sports balls, bicycles, etc are all amazing things to have for reasons outside imagination.
- After all this purging of toys, her kids’ room is nearly bare (even fucking comforter-less, as I may have mentioned before). This raises the question: What the fuck kind of toys did they have to begin with? My kids have a good amount of toys. But if I got rid of everything that didn’t stimulate imagination (or the exceptions I listed above, because I’m not an idiot) I’d only be getting rid of maybe 10% of their toys.
- So she got rid of the vast majority of her kids’ toys. What did she get rid of her own? What’s that? Oh right, only her kids have to make sacrifices evidently. She posted a picture of her kids’ bedroom and it is fucking HUGE. This leads me to believe that they live in a house that is also huge. Are they downsizing? (Because I could give her tips on living with two kids in a small 2BR condo.) Of course. The big house can’t be sacrificed. Did she sacrifice her wardrobe? Her kitchen gadgets? Her computer? Her cable TV? Her car? Her shoes? Her makeup? Her furniture? Did she take away her OWN goddamned comforter? Did her husband make sacrifices? Did he get rid of his computer? His car? His suits? His furniture? Does her bedroom look as bare as her kids’?
- In the pictures of her home, it seems her house is bereft of books. An book-less house is a sad house.
- But the one thing that really twists my knickers? I actually agree with her premise. I think kids do have too much and that they do better with less. Hell, my husband and I could afford a bigger home, but one of the reasons we specifically choose condo-life with two kids and a dog is because we don’t want to be tempted by stuff. But like everything in life, moderation is key. And this woman seems to have no concept of it. There’s a happy-medium between too much and nothing. She takes toys out one at a time. And these are all ‘imagination building’ toys. So her kids play with Polly Pockets or Lego. But heaven forbid they use their imaginations to build a Lego house for their Polly Pockets. They get dolls or dress ups. But they have no opportunity to build blanket forts for their dolls – especially since they have no comforters. I don’t think taking toys away to built their imagination works the way she thinks it will. And call me crazy, but when my kids get to be teenagers and are invariably going to rebel against what I’ve tried to teach them, I’m happier that they do it with beer and pot, rather than by hoarding.